As their names are suggesting, analog and digital multimeters are differentiated by technology matters. In analog there,s a pointer with parameter scales, where pointer deflection during test tells about readings. On other hand digital multimeters have digital lcd display, they give results in numbers. Digital meters also have some extra functions then analog ones. For diy enthusiasts and hobbyists digital meters would be more helpful option, likewise some proffesionals and engineers like analog multimeter,s robustness and old school features.
The analog multimeter is actually an impoved form of galvanometers. Analog meters we see today was invented by a british citizen Donald Macadie who was engineer in post office. First ever digital multimeters were arrived in early 1970,s in market. They solved many problems, as they are a combination of number of meters like ohm meter, voltmeter , amp meter , temperature meter, capacitance meter and a going on list.
We,ll discuss differences between both type of multimeters by comparing them by features and functionalities they have. We,ll check which one can perform better in a quality then other so you may easily conclude that which one can solve your issues more efficiently.
In terms of durability we are forced to give more marks to analog then digital. They are really very rough tough tools which may last for years at your workbench. You,ll also admit it to visualize some old school type analog meters somewhere owned by some older and experienced electrcians which was still in working condition and accurate. Digital multimeters have relatively lower life period excepting some expensive supreme quality multimeters like fluke. Except fluke and some good brands we did,nt notice any digital multimeter brand which can meet analog meter,s life tenure.
When we compare them in terms of general functionalities with normal range we reached to this result that analog meters are less expensive then digital multimeters. But we get a lot more functions in little more price then analog. If you are going with number of features and ranges then digital would be your first priority. In common an ordinary analog meter with comparatively less parameters range like 300v ac/dc , 100 or 150 milli amps dc, 500k ohm, conitnuity and diode testing will cost you about 15 to 20 bucks. But that will actually doesn,t make sense to buy a meter with no ac amps , frequency and capacitance functions which you can get in digital meters by paying some extra amount.
In short we can say that some digital multimeters will cost you less when we compare them to analog multimeters with more features and high ranges. Now it,s up to you which type of multimeter will you prefer for your work.
As analog meters come with needle based reading so it may be confusing for some newbies to finalize actual reading. Beside this they have a stable and durable mechanism for finding accurate results.They also have some visual errors due to poor quality of mirrors like parallax error.
Category one digital multimeters give pin point results in numbers on lcds. But for this you have to avoid some low quality multimeters due to their poor accuracy.
Analog multimeters are calibrated manually everytime before taking a test, but digital meters has an edge of auto calibration before every test. So again in that case anlog meters need some skills and experience to operate them.
Analog multimeters range has to be set manually everytime. On other side most digital multimeters come with auto ranging features, whereas some dmm also has option of both manual and auto range to provide usuage flexibility.
We think power supply is a biggest perk in analog meters, as they don,t needs any type of power source to operate. While in digital multimeters it needs alkalaline batteries or power cord supplies to energize them.
Modern analog multimeters are comparatively lesser in size then Dmm,s. However some analog meters are also bulkier in size. In digital multimeters there,s a good variety of some small size pocket multimeters. On average digital meters are larger in size then analogs.
Digital multimeters give readings in numeric figures by their digital lcd displays in a comfartable manner that even an student can read it wisely. Unfortunately for reading analog multimeters you should first have some know how about their reading scales and pointer deflection.
Analog meters suffer less by distortions or any type of noises in electric circuits. But that,s not the case with digital ones. Thatwhy some of digital meter brands have some distortion preventing features like low impedance mode(loz).
Digital multimeters cover a wide range of parameters other then basic ones. In general analog multimeters you may get voltage, low resistance range and dc milli amps functions. While in their digital companions there is a huge variety like capacitance, duty cycles , frequency ,temperature and even rpm and alternator testing in some of automotive multimeters.